Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Classical Review: Prom 67 – Jansen, Escaich, Orchestre de Paris, Jarvi, Royal Albert Hall / Chamber Prom 8 – Bostridge, Kenny, Fretwork, Cadogan Hall

The Independent
Michael Church
Begun during the Spanish Civil War and finished in the first weeks of the Second World War, Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto – ‘rather serious, I’m afraid’ was his wry comment - opens with a Beethovenian gesture on timpani after which the soloist asserts dominance by turning gentle somersaults high above the orchestra.

But when that soloist is the Dutch violinist Janine Jansen – possessor of a supremely refined line - the dominance becomes more like persuasion. Her performance brought out this work’s echoes of the Berg concerto for which it was a homage: each phrase was exquisitely calibrated, with the threnody of the Passacaglia suggesting a lament for the demise of the Transylvanian musicians whose swoops and slides she had celebrated in the Scherzo.
With Arvo Part’s “Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten” Parvo Jarvi and the Orchestre de Paris had already demonstrated their fastidious control of dynamics, but Saint-Saens’ “Organ” Symphony allowed them to do so again. Thierry Escaich was the organist, and although his role was mostly limited to providing a sonic foundation, his final letting-rip shook the real foundations.


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